Life-Study of Genesisby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
I love the books of Genesis and Revelation because in them we can see God's purpose and its fulfillment. These two books also reveal how the enemy, the subtle one, came in and how he will be cast out. The so-called modern critics, who do not believe in the Bible, mainly direct their attacks at the books of Genesis and Revelation. When we were young this higher criticism was quite prevailing, and we fought against it. The higher critics attacked the books of Genesis and Revelation because the subtle serpent within them knew that no other books exposed him as much. If you want to know how the serpent came in and what his destiny will be, you need to read the first chapters of Genesis and the last chapters of Revelation. Revelation 12:9 mentions "the ancient serpent, he who is called the Devil and Satan." The word "ancient" that describes the serpent refers to the time of Genesis 3. Therefore, if we did not have the books of Genesis and Revelation, the subtle serpent would not be fully exposed. Thus, the serpent invented the so-called modern criticism in an attempt to discredit these two books.
In Genesis 1 and 2 we see a garden and in Revelation 21 and 22 we see a city. By transformation and building the garden becomes a city. Between Genesis 2 and Revelation 21 are many ages or dispensations. The serpent first appeared in Genesis 3 and he has been active ever since; he never sleeps. Throughout all the generations since Genesis 3 the serpent has been working constantly. If you read through the entire Bible carefully, you will see that the serpent came in in Genesis 3 and that in Revelation 20:10 he will be cast into the lake of fire. Regardless of the age or dispensation Satan has always been active. In the first dispensation, meaning the first way in which God dealt with man, Satan was there. Satan not only corrupted the first human couple, but has corrupted man in every succeeding dispensation. When God initiated another age or dispensation, Satan was there to damage people. Throughout age after age and dispensation after dispensation Satan has been present, making it appear as if God has been unable to handle the situation. But this is not so. God is great. We only need to give Him a little time. As far as God is concerned, a thousand years are equal to a day. The period of time from Adam's creation until now is actually less than six days to God. We need to be patient with Him.
As we come to the church dispensation, we see the strongest conflict between Satan and man. What a battle is raging! The book of Revelation shows us that in the churches God has gained a group of overcomers who will defeat Satan. At the end of this dispensation the Lord Jesus will return in victory. The Lord Jesus has been unable to return because as yet there has been no victorious ground on which He can set His feet. He is waiting for this. The overcomers will establish a beachhead for the glorious Christ to return in a victorious way. According to Revelation 12, Satan firstly will be defeated by the overcomers. Then, at the time of the Lord's return, Satan will be bound and cast into the bottomless pit (Rev. 20:1-3). Eventually and ultimately he will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10).
In Genesis 3 Satan came in and in Revelation 20 he will be cast out. Immediately after the first two chapters of Genesis Satan came in, and immediately before the last two chapters of Revelation he will be cast out. Thus, in the entire Bible there are just four chapters in which we see no footprints of the contaminating enemy. Apart from these four chapters he has polluted every age and space. Only Genesis 1 and 2 and Revelation 21 and 22 are free from Satan's contamination. Between Genesis 2 and Revelation 21 we see all the activities of the subtle serpent. Have you ever noticed that Satan appeared immediately after the first two chapters of Genesis and that he will be cast into the lake of fire prior to the last two chapters of Revelation? In this message we want to consider how this crafty one first came in.
As we have seen, Genesis 1 reveals God's eternal purpose and heart's desire, and Genesis 2 reveals God's way of fulfilling His purpose. However, before God could accomplish His purpose, Satan came in. In everything Satan tries to be first. Anything that is real can afford to be somewhat slow, but that which is false always moves hastily. Therefore, in regard to many things it is better for us to do nothing at the first instance. Suppose a little boy comes to his father and says, "Daddy, I want to buy a new toy." The father should answer, "Son, wait for two days. Let us see what the Lord will say." Perhaps it is even better to wait an additional two days. Since Satan is always in a rush we should never accept the first proposal. If a brother comes to you seeking an answer regarding a certain matter, do not reply immediately. Perhaps that question is an instance of the rushing activity of Satan. You need to wait awhile. After a few days that brother might change his mind. I have seen this happen many times. The disposition of young men and young ladies is very quick; they have a hasty temperament. They like to act swiftly and get answers immediately. This haste has its origin in the subtle serpent. If you will wait, God will come in. In most things God is not present at the first instance. The serpent will always act ahead of God in an attempt to defeat Him.
According to Genesis 3, Satan came in first. In the Bible we have the principle of the first mention. Whatever is first mentioned in a particular field establishes the principle for all the subsequent items in that field. Thus, Genesis 3, the first mention of Satan's activity, reveals the principle that Satan comes in before God.
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